Dollars and Sense

Thermo King's innovative products combine economics with common sense

Belgium (August 11, 2008) - Thermo King has always prided itself on being the industry technology leader. In 1938, seventy years ago this year, Thermo King built the first transport refrigeration unit. In 1956, Thermo King built the first marine reefer unit.

In 2000, Thermo King began researching a new marine reefer unit: A unit that would be simpler, lighter, more powerful, and more energy efficient; provide a wider range of cargo temperatures; and extend reefer box life. In addition, based on a novel idea by Thermo King's engineers, the use of paint on the compressor would at last be eliminated. It seemed to be a tall order of difficult and perhaps conflicting requirements. Nonetheless, in late 2002, Thermo King launched the MAGNUM® refrigerated container unit. It was a bold move. To meet the specification would require new pioneering technology, in a very conservative industry.

One of the most compelling arguments for the MAGNUM unit was energy-savings. Yet, this was a difficult sell. Oil was $26/bbl at a time when many felt that on-board vessel electricity was a free by-product of the main ship engine. Still, some forward-thinkers could see the advantages, in dollars and sense.

A purchase of one MAGNUM in 2002 has by now saved 837kg fuel oil (IFO 380) during each year of use. Five years on, the savings are 4,190 kilos, or 4.19 tonnes of fuel, against the then-standard reefer in the industry. (Against the worst-performer - equipment still offered today - the savings are twice as great.) Today, oil (IFO 380) is selling around $400/tonne, so the savings are $1,676 (in today's dollars). And these savings cover only half of the unit's life; imagine what the next five years will bring.

In addition, the CO2 emissions reduction in those five years would be 13,408kg, on each reefer. This is during a time when some in the market were suggesting not changing technologies. Predictably, in time, Thermo King's bold move would spawn imitators. Today, scroll compressor technology is the norm. The rising cost of oil, coupled with the rising awareness of global warming, has brought a new focus to energy efficiency. It is no longer lonely to discuss environmental footprints.

When Thermo King launched a new atmosphere control system in 2002, we dubbed it Advanced Fresh Air Management Plus (AFAM+). This novel approach to atmosphere management in respiring cargoes quickly led to an installed base of more than 11,000 systems, meaning it is the most widely available, permanently installed atmosphere system in the world. With its low acquisition and low, on-going operating costs, it has been a tremendous success. Its holistic control of atmosphere provides a much more natural environment that is ideally suited to organic produce. In addition, it reduces energy consumption by correctly controlling the ventilation, while not over-doing the fresh air ingress. And predictably again, it has begun to spawn imitators.

Generator Sets
Last year, Thermo King launched its EcoPower genset range. Quite literally, the innovative SG-3000 genset can recognise the reefer, and the operating mode it is running, from its signature on the power line via a patented control technology. Once it knows this information, the industry-unique electronic controller can do smart things. The genset can optimise its operating map, and the result is savings of at least 20 percent compared to competitive genset equipment. Today, this means $1,500-$2,000 per YEAR in diesel fuel savings. Indeed, this genset can save more than its entire purchase price during its lifetime. And, of course, the EcoPower genset meets the latest emissions standards.

Thermo King has led innovation in this industry, and will continue to do so. Our environmental awareness, coupled with our forward-looking perspective, and our proven track record in technological advancements, will ensure the continued availability of safe, efficient, and responsible refrigeration equipment for the transport of perishables worldwide.

Thermo King is the global leader in solutions for temperature-controlled transport, supplying the world market from 11 production facilities and over 800 distributors world-wide. The company offers a wide range of refrigeration and heating units for vehicles of all sizes, from small vans to large trailers, as well as airborne and ocean-going containers. In addition Thermo King provides heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment for passenger buses and railcars.

Thermo King also offers service maintenance programmes and finance solutions, as well as a range of accessories, temperature monitoring, and tracking equipment. For more information on Thermo King's products and services please visit

Thermo King is a business unit of leading diversified industrial company Ingersoll Rand, a global provider of products, services, and integrated solutions to industries as diverse as transportation, manufacturing, construction and agriculture. Further information on Ingersoll Rand can be found on the company's website at

Thermo King Corporation, a business unit of diversified industrial firm Ingersoll Rand Company Limited, was founded in 1938 and manufactures transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications, including trailers, truck bodies, buses, shipboard containers and railway cars. The company operates 10 manufacturing facilities and 17 parts distribution centers worldwide. Sales and service is provided by a global dealer network of 865 independently owned companies in 75 countries.

Bram Robichez, Thermo King Corporation
32 2714 5711
Bram Robichez

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